Dear Mike, You should walk Barry Bonds when...

Using Win Expectancy to determine when to walk Barry Bonds

By Tangotiger

Last week, I introduced a win expectancy chart for various late inning close situations. Following from the same concept, we can determine the optimal time to intentionally walk Barry Bonds.

Essentially, you determine the win expectancy for a particular point in the game when Barry is at bat, and he does his usual Barry thing, compared to the win expectancy by intentionally walking him. There are a few assumptions I've made to make life easier for myself, and that is I assume "average conditions" and "average approach" and "average everything else", except for inning, score, outs, and base.

Since there is a margin of error here, rather than have a set of "walk" / "don't walk" decisions, I've left the "close calls" open to account for the assumptions I've made. However, when I say "walk him", that means "walk him" because even if you can come up with different assumptions from the average, the change required to turn a "walk" situation into a "don't walk" situation will be very hard to do.

I've created 5 "classes" of decisions

  • Walk Now!: a no-brainer
  • Walk: a situation that favors the intentional walk
  • Go With Gut: based on other circumstances, you can make a case either way
  • Face Him: a situation that favors not walking him
  • Do NOT Walk: a no-brainer

Anyway, have fun with this, and let's see what happens.

When to Walk Barry Bonds, Giants on the Road